Tree and Leaf Identification - Part 3

Keywords: Tree Identification, Leaf Terminology, bark, stem, leaf, crown, pine, oak, maple; Grade Level: 3rd grade; Total Time Required: 70 minutes; Setting: Classroom and outside

Subject Covered: Science¬–Environment and Ecology

Topics Covered: Leaf/Tree Identification, Terminology

Goals for the lesson

•    use tree terminology to describe trees and leaves
•    use a key to identify trees

Materials Needed

•    clipboard
•    paper
•    pencil
•    worksheet (Leaf ID WS 2)
•    area outside to observe and examine trees
•    computer and big screen
•    trees cutting from previous lesson
•    Summer Key for Pennsylvania Trees (see Literature Cited)
•    Ten Important Hardwoods (see Literature Cited)
•    Interactive Bulletin board with terminology and pictures

State Standards Addressed:
•    Science and Technology

  • 3.2.4.C  Recognize and use the elements of scientific inquiry to solve problems.
  • 3.3.4.B  Know that living things are made up of parts that have specific functions.

•    Environment & Ecology

  • 4.2.4.C  Know that some natural resources have limited life spans.

Teaching Model Used: Direct Instruction, Hands-on, and Cooperative grouping


1.    Classroom: (20 min)
a.    recall vocabulary/tree terminology
b.    have students get out their tree id key
c.    practice using the key, use computer to demonstrate and have students follow along
d.    let students practice using cuttings from previous lesson
e.    ask students: why do the leaves look shriveled up? what are they lacking that is causing them to look this way?
f.    distribute clipboards and tree id worksheets
g.    go over worksheet and discuss expectations
h.    tell them that they must stay in their group, if they have questions to raise hand and I will be over
i.    each group must identify at least two trees

2.    Outside: (30 min)
a.    have areas selected for students to go to
b.    put markers down for each group
c.    allow students time to explore trees and use key
d.    walk around and assist students

3.    Classroom: (20 min)
a.    have each group talk about one of the trees they identified¬–encourage students to use correct terminology when describing trees
b.    have them display the drawing and describe the leaves
c.    let each group share
d.    ask students if they had trouble describing the leaves–Yes?–No?–Why?
e.    review leaf terminology
f.    remind students to use the interactive bulletin board to practice identifying trees


1.    Assess students’ ability to work cooperatively in groups.
2.    Assess students’ ability to use terminology to describe leaves.
3.    Assess students’ ability to use key to identify trees.

Literature/Sources Cited

Summer Key for Pennsylvania Trees, Pennsylvania State University, College of Agricultural Sciences, Cooperative Extension


Joe Caffrey, Oil City Area School District, Oakland Elementary